San Francisco Giants

Tim Lincecum melts against Nationals, provides metaphor fodder for bloggers

As Alex Pavlovic points out, analysis of Tim Lincecum’s issues has been done before. Perhaps over done. Maybe even burnt to a crisp.

Sure, Lincecum melts in the heat. But a lot of great things do, like butter, chocolate, and polar ice caps. And, like the latter, there is no way of knowing the cause of the melting.

It could be a natural cycle, for all we know.

In previous years, Lincecum cooled off significantly during the warmer months. August of 2010 and June of 2011 are certainly examples of this. Much like then, it is reasonable for fans to expect Lincecum to reverse course and return to dominate form.

Bruce Bochy has given fans no reason to think otherwise. “We were all looking forward to seeing him after two good starts,” Bochy said. “He’s got to hopefully put this behind him.”

Phrases like “looking forward to” and “hopefully put this behind him” are all the assurance needed, right?

Of course, there could be the slight chance that Lincecum’s decline is man-made. That is, perhaps constant tweaking of an already fragile throwing motion has made this a permanent regression.

In a 2008 series for HardballTimes.com, Paul Nyman chronicled the demise of both Zito’s fastball and his career. Zito’s fastball (and perhaps innocence), Nyman argues, was lost to subtle changes in his mechanics. In Nyman’s view, any change to a pitcher’s mechanics can have drastic effect on the outcomes of their pitches.

“The body throwing a baseball is a ‘throwing system’ and is subject to the principles of complex dynamic systems,” Nyman wrote. “Complex dynamic systems exhibit chaotic behavior; simply stated, small changes in any aspect of the throwing process can have significant (positive or negative) effects on the final result.”

As one veteran MLB scout told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, “You can tell (Lincecum’s) just not right.”

Dave Righetti credits this not-right-ness to Lincecum’s offseason weight loss, telling Nightengale, “(Lincecum’s) whole body changed, and that weight can affect your mechanics as well.”

Of course, the worst response to a shift in mechanics is one that involves what Nyman calls “muscling the ball.”

Such a response, Nyman believes, “(leads to) a vicious cycle, because as he tries to release further out in front and get more on the ball, he becomes more linear, which promotes more muscling of the ball and loss of mechanical advantage. The more he tries to muscle the ball, the less control he has.”

This may be the route Lincecum has taken. Lincecum told Nightengale “(he’s) got to start utilizing (his) fastball.”

“It used to be, two runners on and no outs,” Lincecum said, “and it was like, ‘I’ll get a double play and strike out the next guy.’ That was the arrogance I had, knowing I could dig deep and get out of it.”

To believe Nyman is to believe the deeper Lincecum digs, the greater the odds that he permanently diminishes the fragile ecosystem that is his throwing motion.

To believe the alternative is to put your faith in time.

Either way, Lincecum is undeterred. “”Whether it’s mental or mechanic, I can deal with this,” Lincecum said. “I can persevere.”

11 Comments

Leave a Reply

11 Comments on "Tim Lincecum melts against Nationals, provides metaphor fodder for bloggers"

Notify of
avatar
 
smilegrinwinkmrgreenneutraltwistedarrowshockunamusedcooleviloopsrazzrollcryeeklolmadsadexclamationquestionideahmmbegwhewchucklesillyenvyshutmouth
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 
Other File Types
 
 
 
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
swimfaye
Guest
Member
swimfaye
All Good Points but after a while even the farmer closes the barn doors and stops beating the dead horse…Tim needs to step aside his throwing every five days isn’t working and with the All Star Break the scrutiny will increase ten fold…The Giants are not the only team with a bad pitcher ( though I can’t think of one off the top of my head maybe because the media doesn’t highlight any pitchers with a bad year? – case in point how many times can Brandon McCarthy go on the DL skip two starts and still lose a game… Read more »
adrian reynolds
Guest
Member
adrian reynolds

I think Boch is inventing one more excuse for Timmy’s poor performance. This time it’s the heat. Next time at AT&T it’ll be something else. If Timmy is not physically, mentally prepared to pitch in adverse conditions, then he shouldn’t be the #1 starter starting after the All Star break. Shuffle the rotation, make him #5 after Zito. Go Cain, Bum, Vogey, Zito, Timmy.

Adam
Guest
Member
Adam

Hey Scott,

Love the site and your reporting. With regard to the whole “Lincecum can’t pitch in warm weather” chestnut, I pulled all of his starts from his whole career off of Baseball Reference and saw if there was any correlation between gametime weather and Lincecum’s ER or Gamescore. As you can see from the following links here comment image) and here comment image) there is practically no correlation between the temperature and his ERs or game score (an R squared of 0 means there is actually no correlation).

East Bay Sports Guy
Guest
Member

Thanks, Adam. Isn’t this a classic example of the stigma that advanced stats seek to eliminate? Anyways, would you be opposed to me using these charts in a post? You’ll get credit of course.

Adam
Guest
Member
Adam

No worries Scott, distribute as you like! Data is from BBref consisting of every Lincecum start ER and GS plotted against the game time temperature.

I think it’s more of a function of confirmation bias. We use every crappy Lincecum start in warm weather to support our “heat narrative” as Grant mentioned on McC, while ignoring the good starts he has in the heat as well as the bad starts he has in the cold. Kinda similar to how people think that more crime happens on full moons.

Paperback Writer
Guest
Member
Paperback Writer

Again, his engine is sputtering – get off the Red Bull.

Amped the 1st inning , hits 94 on the gun, then fades – classic overstimulated cortisol levels (cranked by bull) then predictablly depleted energy level

Come on Giants get him to an accupunturist and herbalist.

Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

Like I told you..as far back as 2010 too. But its now gotten to the point where..even Lincecum now blames the heat as an excuse,he doesn’t say WHY the heat affects him to the point he was shot after two measley innings. He wont admit he has weight issues still.
Truth is stranger then fiction..and when his career is over..the long hair,wanting to be thin and wearing t shirts with kittens on it..he’s a future transgender?
I can’t turn off the genius..sorry..

Jason
Guest
Member
Jason

“Truth is stranger then fiction”

“I can’t turn off the genius”

Stan, you’re beautiful.

Paperback Writer
Guest
Member
Paperback Writer
A WEEK ago, STAN wrote this: Please explain now. 1. Stan June 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm – Reply Its been about two weeks since Lincecum said he’s added ten pounds..so he could be up to 15 pounds by now..and of course his last two starts have been his best of the year. I guess that Dave Righetii stating that Lincecum at 157 in spring training was “Too Little” and Lincecums new success with his weight gain isn’t enough evidence for some…but its conclusive evidence to me and anybody who uses logic not a belief in fairy tales of “positive… Read more »
Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

It was just a toss out there idea…his extreme need to be thin,the long hair, and a Yahoo writer noted that Lincecum in the clubhouse was wearing a Kittens T-shirt with pink ribbons (the cats,not Tim)…Post his career he could become a Lesbian. Not likely -no…but keep an open mind?
And..he looked railish yesterday…all the weight issues could have a hand in it.
But,I’m just offering…uh, food for conversation?

Stan
Guest
Member
Stan
I was ahead of the curve-and all the media in 2010 when they said Tim had a “dead arm”..Now? most have come around to agree with me. BUT, also making the rounds is “No pitcher ever got back his power once he lost it” and “Lincecum wont throw 98 ever again” And I can tell you I’m not in that crowd. I say he CAN get his 96+ mph heater back…IF he GAINS 20pounds or more. The heat ,the stamina in hot weather..the innings will comeback and the era will go down. He needs to listen to me. It will… Read more »
wpDiscuz
What is Bay Area Sports Guy?

It is the top independent sports site covering the teams that play in the best sports region in the United States. BASG is not an ordinary fan blog. It is a place where sports news is broken and analyzed by writers with access who are not afraid to question the status quo, writers who also produce original content in the form of videos, photographs and podcasts.

Questions/Comments? Email basg@bayareasportsguy.com
Fill out my online form.

Copyright © 2017 - Bay Area Sports Guy. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy Terms of Use and BASG Shop Terms

To Top